Tom Brokaw, right, backtracked from remarks he gave on “Meet the Press.” (William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NBC News special correspondent and former “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw backpedaled Sunday evening from remarks he made on “Meet the Press” earlier in the day about Hispanic assimilation, saying he felt “terrible” they offended members of the community.
During a panel discussion about the fight for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Brokaw said: “On the Republican side, a lot of people see the rise of an extraordinary, important new constituent in American politics, Hispanics, who will come here and all be Democrats.”
He continued, “Also, I hear, when I push people a little harder, ‘Well, I don’t know whether I want brown grandbabies.’ I mean, that’s also a part of it. It’s the intermarriage that is going on and the cultures that are conflicting with each other.” He did not explain who had told him this.
Brokaw went on to say: “I also happen to believe that the Hispanics should work harder at assimilation. That’s one of the things I’ve been saying for a long time. You know, they ought not to be just codified in their communities but make sure that all their kids are learning to speak English, and that they feel comfortable in the communities. And that’s going to take outreach on both sides, frankly.”
PBS correspondent Yamiche Alcindor replied: “I grew up in Miami, where people speak Spanish, but their kids speak English. And the idea that we think America can only speak English, as if Spanish and other languages wasn’t always part of America, is, in some ways, troubling.”
The backlash was stronger online.
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists wrote it was “concerned” about his “inaccurate” claims.
By Sunday evening, Brokaw tweeted: “i feel terrible a part of my comments on Hispanics offended some members of that proud culture.”
He also wrote, “i’ve worked hard to knock down false stereo types… i said ALL sides [have] to work harder at finding common ground.”
NBC News did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Brokaw anchored the long-running “NBC Nightly News” from 1982-2004.